UPDATED WED. MARCH 14: Quinton pleaded not guilty today, Wednesday, to grand theft and burglary charges. Orange County Superior Court Judge Karen Robinson set bail at $20,000 and ordered Quinton to return on April 27 for a pretrial hearing.
ORIGINAL STORY: Arraignment is scheduled tomorrow for a Los Angeles Police Department officer accused of stealing money while moonlighting as a security guard at a luxury resort in Laguna Beach.
Jeffry Paul Quinton, 48, of Anaheim Hills, was arrested Jan. 24 and charged last month with grand theft and burglary, both felonies, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz said.
Laguna Beach police released him on his own recognizance on the day of his arrest and issued him a notice to appear in court, accounting for the delay between the filing of charges and his first court appearance, according to Katz and Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz.
Quinton was moonlighting as a security guard for the when he allegedly stole money from safe deposit boxes at the seaside resort, Katz said.
Last Oct. 17, hotel workers found $2,000 left behind in a room and put the money in a safe for valuable lost-and-found items, Katz said. The next day, Quinton allegedly accessed hotel records electronically and changed the $2,000 in cash logged into the system to a gold watch instead, Katz said. Quinton also allegedly changed the number of the room where the money was found and altered the records to show the owner recovered the watch before Quinton allegedly stole $960 from the resort's safe, the prosecutor said.
On Dec. 26, Quinton put tape over a surveillance camera in the resort's security office while he allegedly stole $680 out of a safe deposit box, Katz said. Quinton is also accused of stealing $290 in bedding from a storage room and putting the items in his car, Katz said.
It's not unusual to release a first-time alleged offender without requiring bail, according to Kravetz, who said Laguna Beach police did not show the officer any favoritism. When Surf & Sand Resort officials contacted Laguna Beach police with their suspicions about Quinton, investigators contacted Orange County prosecutors for advice on how to best make a case against the defendant, Kravetz said.
"We just wanted to make sure we had a solid case," he said. Laguna Beach police set up their own hidden cameras in the resort to monitor Quinton "because he would cover up the ones (already) there," Kravetz alleged.
Quinton was arrested when detectives allegedly caught him loading the new bedding into his car, Kravetz said. Laguna Beach police drove Quinton to his house, where they found more allegedly stolen items from the hotel, Kravetz said. Quinton is on administrative leave from the LAPD pending the outcome of the criminal case, according to Officer Rosario Herrera.
Arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Dept. H1, Harbor Justice Center, 4601 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach.
—City News Service